Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Prequels and Sequels

A multi-part story that wrapped up loose ends for the hero Omega (whose series had been cancelled) reunited Hellcat with Moondragon and Wasp, heroes she had worked with in the Avengers.

Omega had never guest starred with the non-team before, but made a cameo appearance in Defenders #39.

More important than the main plot, however, was the worthwhile character study Defenders #76-77 provided of two women who had been only footnotes in Defenders history up to that point.

When husband Yellowjacket came out of retirement (Giant-Size Defenders #4), Wasp continued her leave of absence from crimefighting, at his request (and made only a non-powered cameo appearance that issue).

But in #76-77, free of patriarchal expectations, the Wasp acted with more confidence and intelligence than she had shown in almost two decades of comic book stories. Though a founding member of the Avengers, Wasp said she never had an opportunity to fly an Avengers' Quinjet until helping Valkyrie and Hellcat on that mission.

Telepathically sensing that Hellcat was in need of assistance, Moondragon returned to Earth to aid the Defenders (having made a one-panel cameo in #44). But the emotionally-complicated Moondragon chided Hellcat for scarcely developing her psionic abilities since leaving Titan, the moon of Saturn where she had trained.

Although Valkyrie had minimal interaction with Moondragon, Wasp warned the Asgardian warrior that Moondragon's arrogance was hard to take.

Claiming that the other heroes had botched the mission to save Omega, Moondragon ended the adventure demanding that the Defenders never summon her again. But as time would tell, this was only the beginning of Moondragon's involvement with the team. The self-proclaimed goddess eventually returned as a reluctant member of the New Defenders, with Valkyrie serving as her Odin-appointed parole officer.

The Omega plotline also brought back Ruby Thursday, still holding a grudge after fighting the Defenders several times before as a member of the Headmen.

Steven Grant wrote Defenders #76-77, and Herb Trimpe illustrated those issues.

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